With Arizona’s summer coming to a close we can say goodbye to those 110 degree days and hello to the balmy 85, which means more time can be spent enjoying the outdoors. On my latest visit to Phoenix we decided to drive up north to Sedona, and Page which is just south of the Utah border. We learned how to change a tire, hiked to near death, took selfies at cliff-edges, had local beer in small towns and drank wine with donkeys.
Just outside of Sedona, the hike to Devil’s Bridge isn’t too strenuous, it’s roughly five-miles round-trip along a dirt road that leads into a more robust trail, with parts that require a bit of rock climbing up steep sections of the mountain. The higher you get the more narrow and rocky the hike becomes, it’s a 400 ft or so elevation climb in all but there are plenty of places to stop and take a break, or scenic viewing areas to soak in the view should you not make it to the top. But you should, it’s awe-inspiring, and the opportunity to risk your life walking across the bridge for a photo is right there at the peak. Devil’s Bridge itself is a bridge to nowhere, it’s about a 50 feet drop should you fall, so don’t do that. At it’s narrowest it’s about five feet but if you’re good with heights then you’ll be fine. I’m not good with heights so I remained on the cliff-edge to take the photos. I’m not stupid.
A three hour drive further north and you’ll hit Page, a small town that roughly sits on the Arizona-Utah border and is home to some of nature’s most beautiful sights. Antelope Canyon was our first stop, we had tickets to a guided tour of the upper canyon rocks, which are located on Navajo Nation land. The canyons are a series of caverns and passageways formed by sandstone erosion, overhead archways direct sunlight in creating stunning light effects that bounce off the crystallized sandstone. Different times of the day and year offer different light shows but no matter when you go you’re going to be impressed. The canyons are only accessible by guided tours, I have to give a special shout out to Cindy of Antelope Canyon Tours, she was a lot of fun and will make sure you get the perfect photo. Click through below to check them out.
Update: It has been brought to my attention that Antelope Canyon may be familiar to my millennial readers thanks to Britney Spears’ I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman music video. Ever the rule breaker, our tour guide Cindy did ask us not to touch the walls as the oils in our fingers will contribute to the sandstone erosion… But Britney is allowed, she can do no wrong.
Our next stop was Horseshoe Bend, located a few miles downstream from Lake Powell along the Colorado River, at 1100 ft below it curves around the rocks into a horseshoe formation. It’s absolutely breathtaking, and massive, it’s difficult to get a sense of how large it is until you’re standing on the cliff-edge overlooking the canyon, and there are plenty of people there doing it for the ‘gram. It costs $10 per car for entry, that doesn’t deter the hundreds of tourists you’ll be competing with to get an uninterrupted view, but once you block out the noise of the crowds and take in the moment it’s worth it. One of the most impressive places I’ve ever visited.
It wasn’t all outdoors and nature, we’re not complete monsters. We had a great Syrah at D.A. Ranch, a winery in Cornville just southwest of Sedona nestled on the side of a hill with sweeping views of the vines, and a small pond with a paddock of goats, horses and donkeys. We spent the night in Old Town Cottonwood, had great pizza at Pizzeria Bocce and stayed at The Tavern Hotel, an adorable hotel that probably got most of its furniture from Pier 1 Imports. For our final stop before heading back to Phoenix we had a beer at one of Flagstaff’s many breweries, Beaver Street Brewery, in their courtyard just off the side of the railway tracks, it was a perfect 60 degrees, we couldn’t have asked for a better way to close out the trip.